AB 2699, as introduced, Gonzalez. Department of Consumer Affairs: solar companies: solar energy systems.
Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of various professions and vocations by boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs. Existing law, the Contractors’ State License Law, provides for the licensure and regulation of contractors by the Contractors’ State License Board. Existing law requires licensed contractors to be classified and authorizes them to be classified as, among other things, a solar contractor. Under existing law, a solar contractor installs, modifies, maintains, and repairs thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems. Existing law prohibits a solar contractor from performing building or construction trades, crafts, or skills, except when required to install a thermal or photovoltaic solar energy system.
This bill would, among other things, require a solar company selling, financing, or leasing a solar energy system, as defined, to provide each customer with a specified “solar energy system disclosure document.” The bill would also require the Department of Consumer Affairs to adopt a regulation that includes a specified “Department of Consumer Affairs solar energy system disclosure document” informing customers of the risks and rewards of solar energy system ownership and warranty issues, and protecting those customers from unscrupulous or unfair business practices. The bill would require these disclosures to be provided by the solar company to the customer prior to the sale, finance, or lease of a solar energy system. The bill would make a violation of these provisions by a solar company punishable by an unspecified fine. The bill would also authorize a customer damaged by a willful violation of these provisions to bring a civil cause of action against a solar company for specified damages.
This bill would also declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require the Department of Consumer Affairs to certify a solar company and establish an insurance pool for customers to access in order to obtain compensation for solar energy system claims, as provided.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the
2Governor set a goal of one million solar rooftop systems installed
3by 2018. As of November 2015, this state leads the nation in the
4installation of residential and business distributed solar projects
5with approximately 438,250 solar projects.
6(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact this act to ensure
7that prospective solar customers are provided accurate, clear, and
8concise information to make an informed decision about solar
9energy system installation, and to ensure that new solar energy
10systems continue to reliably provide clean power to millions of
11Californians for many years.
Chapter 2.4 (commencing with Section 18892) is added
13to Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:
(a) As used in this section, the following terms have
18the following meanings:
19(1) “Customer” shall include any person, firm, corporation, or
20other entity that is solicited by, inquires about, or seeks the services
21of a solar company for the purchase, financing, or lease of a solar
P3 1(2) “Department” means the Department of Consumer Affairs.
2(3) “Solar company” means any company and its broker,
3brokers, or agents that sell, finance, or lease solar energy systems.
4(4) “Solar energy system” has the same meaning as set forth in
5paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 801.5 of the
7(b) (1) Prior to completion of a sale, financing, or lease of a
8solar energy system to a customer, a solar company shall provide
9each customer with a “solar energy system disclosure document,”
10which shall include all of the following information:
11(A) A list of current residential or business electric rates by
12kilowatthour, as established by the applicable Public Utilities
13Commission tariff or other regulatory rate document.
14(B) If a payback calculation for the solar energy system is
15provided, the calculation must be based on the customer’s current
16electric rate, which shall be disclosed to the customer.
17(C) A notification that electric rates are subject to change in the
18 future and that estimates of savings are based on today’s electric
19rates. If a payback calculation is included, the notification shall
20be located immediately next to the payback calculation.
21(D) A link to a page on the customer’s electricity provider’s
22Internet Web site that provides information about the electrical
23provider’s filings regarding future rates.
24(E) A description of the solar company’s contractor’s license
25issued pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000) of
26Division 3, license number, and name of the license qualifier for
27each of the solar company’s licenses for solar system installation.
28(F) Valid, current certificates of insurance for the solar
29company’s commercial general liability and workers’ compensation
31(G) A description of the average level of electricity per month
32that would be produced by the solar panels planned for installation
33given the actual physical limitations and conditions specific to the
35(H) A notification that, when renewable energy attributes are
36retained by the solar company, the customer is not buying solar
37power, nor buying renewable energy.
38(I) A notification that the balance of any financing or lease
39arrangement is payable to the solar company in the event of the
40death of the customer during the term of the agreement.
P4 1(J) An estimate of the cost of removing and reinstalling solar
2panels in the event that the roof material beneath solar panels is
4(K) An explanation of the potential change in
5production of a solar energy system if the panels become dirty or
6covered with debris, and instructions on how to maintain the solar
8(L) An explanation that if a solar system installation is financed
9by a loan that requires a superpriority lien on the homeowner’s
10mortgage, the homeowner may be unable to refinance his or her
11mortgage because of this financing.
12(M) A notification that customer bill credits are compensated
13by other customers of the electricity provider.
14(2) A solar company that sells, finances, or leases a solar energy
15system to a customer primarily in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog,
16Vietnamese, or Korean, whether orally or in writing, shall be
17required to provide the disclosure document in paragraph (1) in
18that same language.
19(c) Subject to the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5
20(commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title
212 of the Government Code), the department shall adopt a regulation
22that includes a “Department of Consumer Affairs solar energy
23system disclosure document” informing customers of the risks and
24rewards of solar energy system ownership and warranty issues,
25and protecting those customers from unscrupulous or unfair
26business practices. The solar company shall provide this disclosure
27document developed by the department at the same time that the
28disclosure document in subdivision (b) is provided to the customer.
29The disclosure document developed by the department shall
30include, but shall not be limited to, information about all of the
32(1) Solar energy system malfunctions.
33(2) Installations not performed to code.
34(3) Roof intrusions and related structural concerns.
35(4) Bankruptcy, insolvency, default, takeover, or closure of a
36solar company with existing customers, especially with respect to
37solar companies who lease systems.
38(5) Loss of warranty on solar energy systems caused by
39bankruptcy, insolvency, default, takeover, or closure of a solar
40company or a solar manufacturer.
P5 1(d) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that
2would (1) require the department to certify a solar company and
3(2) establish an insurance pool for customers to access in order to
4obtain compensation for solar energy system claims, the funds for
5which shall be raised yearly from all solar companies actively
6doing business in this state at the time of assessment.
7(e) When marketing its services to customers, solar companies
8shall not use the trade dress of other energy providers such that it
9creates a likelihood of confusion that an affiliation or connection
10exists between a solar company and the electrical corporation,
11unless the solar company has express authorization from the
12electrical corporation to do so.
13(f) A violation of this section by a solar company is punishable
14by a fine of not less than ___ ($___) and not more than ___ ($___),
15which shall be in addition to any other punishment imposed for a
16violation of this section. All fines collected by the department
17pursuant to this subdivision shall be deposited in the Professions
18and Vocations Fund described in Section 205, and these fines shall
19be subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
20(g) (1) In addition to the authority granted to the department
21in subdivision (f), a customer damaged by a willful violation of
22the provisions of this chapter may bring a civil cause of action
23against a solar company for damages, including, but not limited
24to, general damages, special damages, and punitive damages.
25(2) The court in an action pursuant to this section may award
26equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction, costs,
27and any other relief the court deems proper.
28(3) The rights and remedies provided in this chapter are in
29addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.